The Real America and the Ideal of the Fourth of July

America is a multi-national nation where there is currently much polarized debate as to who or what is the "Real America."

Perhaps the key to understanding America is that it's a nation defined, not by ethnic attributes of the citizens, but by the ideal of July 4th-- an ideal that all are created equal, with unalienable rights to liberty (yesterday's post).

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35 Words

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

The Development of Freedom since 1776 has been about including more and more men and women in that word "all".

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PUBLICATION: Dignity and Development

What do dignity and liberty have to do with institutional outcomes on development? DRI Post-doctoral Fellow Claudia Williamson publishes in the Journal of  Socio-Economics:

This paper explores how expanding the notion of informal institutions in the broader institutional framework provides a more complete explanation for development. Specifically, I incorporate McCloskey’s notion of ‘dignity and liberty’ as part of the institutional nexus. By doing so, a richer explanation and understanding of the importance of institutions in explaining different economic outcomes is offered. Focusing on bourgeois dignity offers a precise mechanism to explain how institutions matter to support economic growth. In addition, analyzing the changing attitudes towards the bourgeoisie provides a specific example of mechanisms that can lead to institutional change.

She concludes:

As such, we arrive at two main conclusions: 1) dignity must be grounded in liberty, and 2) economic exchange as a result of underlying liberties leads to dignifying the bourgeoisie. This suggests that by moving towards freer trade, poor countries today will reap the traditional benefits of free trade, but it might also set in motion a cycle for more liberties and institutional change.

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